Stem Cell Plasticity and Niche Dynamics in Cancer Progression
Cancer stem cells are believed to be the sole initiator and driver of tumor growth, given their self-renewal and tissue restoration properties. Their eradication may offer the ultimate in targeted tumor treatment. We challenge the strict hierarchical view of cancer stem cells and investigate the hypothesis of a plastic, niche-dependent stem phenotype, where the niche dictates the cell’s ability to maintain its stem-like state. We develop a two-dimensional hybrid discrete-continuum cellular automata model to describe the cell scale dynamics of multicellular tissue formation, and its environmental regulation.
Aggregation Effects and Population-Based Dynamics as a Source of Therapy Resistance in Cancer
The authors demonstrate that cancer cells can act like a “herd.” This results in an evolutionary process described as “aggregation effects” in which the interactions among members of a herd. They demonstrate that cancer cells may benefit from clustering together. However, the authors also demonstrate that aggregation effects can be exploited under some conditions to increase the sensitivity of the cancer cells to some therapies.